XADM: Offline Backup and Restore Procedures for Exchange Server 4.0, 5.0, and 5.5

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Summary

These instructions focus on methods for bypassing the online backup APIs and manually backing up and restoring Exchange Server information store databases. Backing up the directory service database is a similar process. Occasional exceptions and differences are pointed out in the instructions as they occur.

For additional information about offline and snapshot backups, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
296788 XADM: Offline Backup and Restoration Procedures for Exchange 2000 Server
The instructions in this article assume that you are running Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later. Earlier versions of Eseutil and Edbutil do not provide access to the information in Exchange Server transaction log file headers. It is possible to back up and restore all versions of Exchange Server offline, but without access to log headers, you cannot reliably verify that all restored database and log files are matched with each other. With versions of Exchange Server earlier than 5.5 SP1, you must keep track of the history of backed up files to determine which files belong together, and you cannot troubleshoot log file replay problems simply by a cold examination of the available file set.

More information

Before You Begin

XADM: Understanding Offline and Snapshot Backups Before you perform an offline backup, you first need to know the following:
  • Whether or not circular logging is enabled.

    To find this information, open the properties of the Server_name object in the Exchange Server Administrator program, and click the Advanced tab. To disable circular logging, click to clear the Circular Logging check box. This causes the database service to stop and restart, interrupting service.

    You do not need to disable circular logging to perform offline backups. You must disable circular logging if you want to replay transaction logs into restored offline backups.
  • The full path for the locations of your Exchange Server database, transaction log, and checkpoint files.

    To find this information, open the properties of the Server_name object in the Administrator program, and click the Database Paths tab. There are up to seven locations that you need to record:
    • Private Information Store Database (Priv.edb)
    • Public Information Store Database (Pub.edb)
    • Information Store Transaction Logs (Edb*.log)
    • Information Store Working Path (Edb.chk)
    • Directory Database (Dir.edb)
    • Directory Transaction Logs (Edb*.log)
    • Directory Working Path (Edb.chk)
If the Administrator program is unavailable, you can read the paths directly from the system registry on the Exchange Server computer under the following registry keys.

Information store:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\ParametersPrivate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\ParametersPublic HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\ParametersSystem

Directory service:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeDS\Parameters
To successfully replay transaction logs, you must restore database (*.edb) files to the same path locations from which they were backed up. For example, if you backed up the database from the E:\Mdbdata folder, you must also restore it to the E:\Mdbdata folder, even if you are restoring the database to an entirely different server (as you might do in a single mailbox recovery situation).

If you have changed a database path since the last backup, you can only achieve a partial replay of transaction logs, and then only if you set the path back to the original location before replay begins. Reverting to the old path allows the replay of logs up until the point of the path change.

You can restore transaction log files (Edb*.log) to a different path than the original backup location because transaction logs record the locations of the databases they are attached to, but databases do not record the locations of transaction logs. During replay, the logs "find" the databases using path information stored in the transaction log headers. (Database path changes are compensated for internally by the online backup API, and so this limitation does not apply.)

You will neither back up nor restore the checkpoint file (Edb.chk), but you must know the current location of the checkpoint file because you may need to examine it or delete it during recovery.

How Exchange Server Database Files Relate to Each Other

The *.edb files are the final repository for all database information. As changes are made to the database, the changes are first written to the current transaction log file (Edb.log), and then to an in-memory cache. As soon as changes are present in the cache, they become visible to end users. Pages in the cache are flushed to the database file when it is convenient to do so. The checkpoint marks the point in the log file sequence up to which all transactions have been physically flushed to the database file. It is normal for the checkpoint to lag three or more log files behind Edb.log.

Transaction logs are a uniform 5 megabytes (MB) in size. When the current log file is full, it is renamed with a hexadecimal sequence number, called the log generation number, and a new Edb.log file is generated. Log files are numbered as Edb00001.log, Edb00002.log, and so on. Throughout this article, numbered log files will be designated generically as Edbxxxxx.log.

If a database is stopped abnormally, the checkpoint file (Edb.chk) records the transaction log from which soft recovery must begin replay to restore the database to consistency. This process is called "soft recovery." It can be contrasted with "hard recovery," which is the process by which log files are replayed after restoration of an online backup. The most important difference between soft and hard recovery is the interpolation of patch file data into the log file replay process during hard recovery.

An inconsistent Exchange Server database file is simply one which has not had all outstanding transactions written to it yet. During normal operation, Exchange Server database files are inconsistent because there is information in the cache that has not yet been physically written to the file. In general, an Exchange Server database file set can be considered consistent only after a normal shutdown of the database service. Nonetheless, the database taken as a whole (considered as the sum of the information in both the transaction logs and database files) is always consistent unless needed log files are prematurely deleted.

Backing Up an Exchange Server Database Offline

  1. Stop the service for the database that you want to back up (either the information store service or the directory service).
  2. Verify that the main database files are consistent. The main database file for the directory service is the Dir.edb file. The main database files for the information store are the Priv.edb and Pub.edb files. (Not all Exchange Server computers have both databases.) At a command prompt, run the following command:
    eseutil /mh database name | find /i "consistent"
    The following is a sample result:
    E:\mdbdata>eseutil /mh priv.edb | find /i "consistent"
                 State: Consistent
       Last Consistent: (4815,7337,362)  8/6/1999 20:46:33
    
    E:\mdbdata>eseutil /mh pub.edb | find /i "consistent"
                 State: Consistent
       Last Consistent: (4815,7337,400)  8/6/1999 20:46:34
    							
    If the database reports "State: Inconsistent," it was not shut down cleanly. Restart the database, and then shut it down again. If the state is still inconsistent, contact Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) for further assistance.
  3. Copy each *.edb file to a backup location.
  4. Restart the database service.
  5. (Optional) If circular logging is enabled, skip this step. If circular logging is disabled, and you want to "roll forward" later, then you must back up all numbered transaction log files (the Edbxxxxx.log files). Do not back up the Edb.log, Res1.log, and Res2.log files.

    You may back up numbered log files at any convenient time, even immediately after creation, because after a log file has been renamed from Edb.log to Edbxxxxx.log, Exchange Server never again alters it. But you should permanently delete backed up log files only according to the instructions in step 6.

    You should not think of your log file backups as having a one-to-one correspondence with your database backups. Each log file backup is a link in a chain of log files that may be playable against any of several different database backups. You can roll forward from a particular database backup as long as you have an unbroken stream of logs starting with the log listed in the "Last Consistent" line of the database's header. The Last Consistent log will also be referred to in this article as the "anchor log."

    If you refer to the preceding example, the Last Consistent log designation is (4815,7337,400). The three numbers designate a log file, a page in that log file, and a byte offset into that page. Each log file contains approximately 10,000 pages of 512 bytes each. The page offset gives you a good idea of how close to being full the log file is (this one is about three quarters full), but is irrelevant to recovery. Recovery always starts at the beginning of a log file.

    The Last Consistent log number in this example is decimal 4815. While this number is stored as a decimal number inside the database header, log files are numbered hexadecimally. To calculate the actual Last Consistent log, you must convert the log number listed in the header to its hexadecimal equivalent, which is 12FC in this case. Exchange Server transaction log files are named Edbxxxxx.log, where xxxxx is five hexadecimal digits padded with leading zeroes if necessary. In this example, the log file is Edb012fc.log.

    TIP: To convert from decimal to hexadecimal, start the Calc.exe utility. In the Calc utility, click View, and then click Scientific. Type a decimal number, and then click Hex to convert it.

    You may not always see the Last Consistent log on disk as a numbered log, because it may still be named Enn.log. You can see the number that the Edb.log file will eventually be given by examining the log file header while the database is stopped (access is denied to the Edb.log header while the database is running).

    To view the internal log generation number, run the following command:
    eseutil /ml log file | find /i "lGeneration"
    The following is a sample result:
    E:\mdbdata>eseutil /ml edb.log | find /i "lgeneration"
          lGeneration (4815)
    							
    Ensuring that your log file backups are good is, in many circumstances, more important than ensuring that each database backup is good because each database backup can provide redundancy for the others, but full recovery from any database backup is dependent on preservation of each and every log file since the backup.
  6. (Optional) Skip this step if circular logging is enabled. Examine the header of the checkpoint file to discover the highest log file that can be safely removed. The checkpoint tracks the lowest log file that is needed for automatic recovery if the database is abnormally stopped. To examine the checkpoint, run the following command:
    eseutil /mk edb.chk
    The following is a sample result:
    C:\mdbdata>eseutil /mk edb.chk | find /i "checkpoint"
          Checkpoint file: edb.chk
          LastFullBackupCheckpoint (0,0,0)
          Checkpoint (4815,8924,112)
    							
    The third line is the checkpoint line; the LastFullBackupCheckpoint entry is used by online backup, and remains set to all zeroes if an online backup is never performed against the database. The Checkpoint log position format (fourth line) is the same as for the Last Consistent entry in the database header. In this example, the checkpoint is in Edb012fc.log (0x12FC is 4815 decimal).

    If circular logging is disabled, log files accumulate until they are either manually deleted or removed automatically by the online backup process. If circular logging is enabled, no special management of old log files is required because the database service automatically deletes them after the checkpoint has passed through them.

    After you back up all numbered log files, you may reclaim disk space by removing all numbered log files up to but not including the checkpoint log. In this example, you could remove all logs up to Edb012fb.log.

    (Optional) Verify the page-level integrity of the copied databases using the Esefile utility. The Esefile.exe file is available in the Support folder on the Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack 3 CD, or on the Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server installation disc, or from PSS. The Esefile utility works for Exchange Server 5.0, 5.5, or 2000 .edb files.

    The Esefile utility command to verify the page checksums for an Exchange Server 5.0 database is:
    esefile /x database name
    The Esefile utility command to verify the page checksums for an Exchange Server 5.5 database is:
    esefile /s database name
    The following is a sample result:
    E:\mdbdata>esefile /s priv.edb
    
    Checksumming
    0    10   20   30   40   50   60   70   80   90  100
    |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|
    ...................................................
    
    23042 pages seen
    0 bad checksums
    241 uninitialized pages
    0 wrong page numbers
    
    esefile completes successfully after 10 seconds
    							
    Uninitialized pages are acceptable, but in a healthy database, there are 0 bad checksums and 0 wrong pages numbers.

    If a database does not pass the Esefile utility integrity check, your best option is to restore a previous backup that you know to be good, and to roll the database forward. If such a backup is not available, consult PSS for advice on repairing or salvaging the database.

Restoring an Offline Backup of an Exchange Server Database

This section describes two ways to restore an offline backup:
  • "Point in time" restoration. No log files are replayed into the database. All data created after the backup is lost.
  • "Roll forward" restoration. The log files created after the backup are played into the database. If all log files are available, all data created since the backup can be preserved. If circular logging is enabled, you must perform a "point in time" restoration; you cannot choose a "roll forward" restoration.
In summary, the file set you restore must meet the following minimum criteria:
  • For point in time restorations, you must remove all files from the working path, transaction logs path, and database paths for the database before restoring backed up databases.
  • For "roll forward" restorations, an unbroken series of log files starting with the anchor log must be present, with the highest log in the series named or renamed Edb.log. The checkpoint file must be deleted.

"Point in Time" Restoration of an Offline Backup

  1. Stop the database service, and then move--do not delete--the checkpoint file and all transaction logs for the database that you intend to restore. The presence of any of these files may prevent the restored database from starting, or may even damage it.
  2. Restore the backed up database file (either the Priv.edb and Pub.edb databases, or the Dir.edb database) to the appropriate database folder. Do not restore any Edb*.log files. At this point, the only files present in the database folders are consistent copies of the main database files themselves.

    NOTE: If a copy of the database to be restored already exists on the server, back it up before restoring, even if you cannot start the existing file. It may be repairable, and you may be able to use the Exmerge utility to salvage data from it.
  3. Start the database service. If you are restoring an information store database, the database will in most cases fail to start, reporting an event 1087 or an error 1011. This is normal, and indicates only that the information store and directory databases need to be synchronized. If this happens, at a command prompt, run the following command:
    \exchsrvr\bin\isinteg.exe -patch
    This command resynchronizes the information store and the directory service. The patch process usually takes only several minutes, even against a very large mailbox database.

    NOTE: For public information store databases with large numbers of folders in the hierarchy, the patch process may take considerably longer. In general, expect patching to take at least a minute for every 1,000 folders in the hierarchy.

    After patching has completed, start the database again.

    NOTE: Do not run the isinteg -patch command in anticipation of a startup problem. Only run it after an event occurs advising you to do so. In rare circumstances, if you run the isinteg -patch command before the service has detected that it should be done, you may damage the database.

    Because you started this database in the absence of any log files, a new series of log files, starting with the Edb00001.log file, is generated. After the database has been successfully started, no previously existing log files can ever be replayed into it.

"Roll Forward" Restoration of an Offline Backup

To have the best chance of full success in replaying log files into a restored database, follow these guidelines:
  • Preserve a copy of all transaction logs created since the time of your oldest full backup.
  • Do not change a database path without making a new full backup immediately afterward.
  • Do not run eseutil /p or /d without making a new full backup immediately afterward (for Exchange Server 4.0 and 5.0, do not run edbutil /d or edbutil /d /r).
  • Do not add or remove a database on the server without immediately making a full backup of all databases on the server.
To begin the restoration process:
  1. If the database service is started, stop it, and then copy the database files that you intend to restore to the current database paths on the server.

    NOTE: If copies of the database files to be restored still exist, back them up before restoring, even if you cannot start the existing files. They may be repairable, and you may be able to use the Exmerge utility to salvage data from them.
  2. Run the following command against each database file, restored or previously existing on the server:
    eseutil /mh database filename | find /i "consistent"
    The following is a sample result:
    E:\mdbdata>eseutil /mh priv.edb | find /i "consistent"
    
    
                 State: Consistent
       Last Consistent: (4815,7337,362)  8/6/1999 20:46:33
    
    E:\mdbdata>eseutil /mh pub.edb | find /i "consistent"
                 State: Consistent
       Last Consistent: (4815,7337,400)  8/6/1999 20:46:34
    							
    The purpose of this step is twofold:

    • To verify that the database files are each consistent.
    • To identify the anchor log file, which is the first log file required to begin log file replay. The lower Last Consistent value in either of the databases defines the low anchor log. Last Consistent values will be the same for both databases if you backed both up at the same time.
    You can calculate the anchor log file from the first value in parentheses on the "Last Consistent" line (4815, in this example). Convert this number from decimal to hexadecimal. Decimal 4815 is equivalent to hexadecimal 12CF. Because Exchange Server transaction log files are named Edbxxxxx.log, where xxxxx is five hexadecimal digits padded with leading zeroes, the first log file you need is the Edb012cf.log file.

    TIP: To convert from decimal to hexadecimal, start the Calc.exe utility. In the Calc utility, click View, and then click Scientific. Type a decimal number, and then click Hex to convert it.
  3. Verify that the log signature recorded in each database header is the signature of the anchor log. Run the following commands:
    eseutil /mh database name | find /i "log signature"
    eseutil /ml last consistent log | find /i "signature"
    The following is a sample result:
    D:\mdbdata>eseutil /mh priv.edb | find /i "Log Signature"
        Log Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:38 Rand:24842 Computer:
    
    D:\exchsrvr\mdbdata\save>eseutil /ml edb012cf.log | find /i "Signature"
          Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:38 Rand:24842 Computer:
          Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:40 Rand:67798 Computer:
          Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:41 Rand:58314 Computer:
    							
    A log file may report several signatures. The first one is always the log file's own signature; the rest are databases that were running at the time the log file was created. In the preceding example, the log signature recorded in the database file matches the log signature in the Last Consistent log.

    IMPORTANT: If you cannot locate the anchor log file, do not replay any log files. If you skip the anchor log file and force replay to begin at a subsequent log file, you will almost certainly damage the database beyond repair. If the anchor log file is unavailable, follow the "Point in Time" restoration instructions.
  4. Verify that the current database path locations are the same as at the time you made the backup.

    Although you can change the transaction log path or working path after you make a backup, you can only perform log file replay if the database file is restored to the same place from which it was backed up. If you are unsure of the original location, at a command prompt, run the following command:
    eseutil /ml last consistent log | find /i ".edb"
    For example:
    D:\mdbdata>eseutil /ml edb00008.log |find /i ".edb"
          1 d:\MDBDATA\PRIV.EDB
          2 f:\MDBDATA\PUB.EDB
    							
    NOTE: If the low anchor log is Edb00001.log, it will not have path information in its header, because the header for the first log in a series is generated before the first database is ever attached to it. In this case, you must look in the next log's header to view database path information. In rare cases, this may also be true for logs past the first one because a database was created or attached to the log stream after the log had been created.
  5. Gather logs starting with the anchor log to as far forward as you can go in unbroken numeric sequence, and copy these logs to the current transaction logs path. These log files may come from multiple backup sets. Do not overwrite logs already in place on the server without backing them up first.

    IMPORTANT: If the Edb.log file already exists in the Transaction Logs folder that you are restoring to, go to step 6. If the Edb.log file does not exist in this folder, go to step 7.
  6. If the Edb.log file exists, you must verify that the Edb.log file belongs with your sequence of log files--that it is the next file in the lGeneration sequence after the highest numbered log file that you have available.

    Each log file carries an internal number called the lGeneration that identifies its real position in the sequence of log files, regardless of the current file name. If your computer is running Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later, you can use Eseutil to verify that the lGeneration number of the Edb.log file is one higher than that of the highest numbered log file. Run the following commands:
    eseutil /ml highest numbered log file | find /i "lGeneration"
    eseutil /ml Edb.log | find /i "lGeneration"
    The following is a sample result:
    E:\mdbdata>eseutil /ml edb012dc.log | find /i "lGeneration"
         lGeneration (4828)
    
    E:\mdbdata>eseutil /ml edb.log | find /i "lGeneration"
         lGeneration (4829)
    							
    In this example, the lGeneration for the highest numbered log file is one less than that for Edb.log, indicating that Edb.log is next in the log series.

    NOTE: To view a log file header with the Eseutil utility, use the /ml switch, and to view a database file header, use the /mh switch. Confusing the switches gives you incorrect output from the commands.

    If the Edb.log file does not carry the correct lGeneration number, you must remove the Edb.log file.

    IMPORTANT: If you removed the Edb.log file, go on to step 7. Otherwise, go to step 8.
  7. To replay transaction log files into an offline backup, there must be a log file named Edb.log. (This is not a requirement with online backups.) If the Edb.log file is unavailable, you must rename the highest available numbered log file Edb.log.

    CRITICAL NOTE: If you rename a log file Edb.log, you must remove all of the log files that have higher lGeneration numbers than the renamed log file before you start the database. If you do not do this, the higher numbered logs become a "ceiling" that eventually blocks the creation of new log files, and causes the database to stop.
  8. Verify that all logs share the same log signature and are in unbroken sequence.

    You can use a batch file similar to the following to automate signature verification. You can paste the file into Notepad or another plain text editor, saving the file as Chksig.bat. As formatted in this article, each single line of the file has been separated by a blank line to assist you in correcting any lines that may have improperly wrapped on your screen. Requirements to run the file are:

    • You are running Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 or Microsoft Windows 2000 with the default command line extensions enabled.
    • Eseutil.exe and Find.exe must be available in the system path or in the transaction logs folder.
    • You must run the file from a command prompt in the transaction logs folder.

    The file requires one parameter, the file name of the anchor log. It will extract the signature from this file, and compare it to every other transaction log file in the folder, reporting any signature mismatches.

    Batch file:
    :CHKSIG.BAT
    
    @ECHO OFF
    
    IF NOT EXIST %1 GOTO :EOF
    
    IF EXIST "C:\SIGNATURE CHECK.ERR" DEL "C:\SIGNATURE CHECK.ERR"
    
    SETLOCAL
    
    SET COUNTER=0
    
    ESEUTIL /ML %1 |FIND /I "SIGNATURE" >C:\LOGSIG.TXT
    
    FOR /F "DELIMS=" %%A IN (C:\LOGSIG.TXT) DO CALL :GETSIG "%%A"
    
    SET LOGSIG=%LOGSIG:"=%
    
    FOR %%A IN (EDB*.LOG) DO CALL :CHECKSIG %%A
    
    IF EXIST "C:\SIGNATURE CHECK.ERR" TYPE "C:\SIGNATURE CHECK.ERR"
    
    DEL C:\LOGSIG.TXT
    
    GOTO :EOF
    
    :CHECKSIG
    
    ESEUTIL /ML %1 | FIND "%LOGSIG%"
    
    IF ERRORLEVEL 1 ECHO SIGNATURE MATCHING FAILED FOR %1!
    
    IF ERRORLEVEL 1 ECHO SIGNATURE MATCHING FAILED FOR %1 >> "C:\SIGNATURE CHECK.ERR"
    
    GOTO :EOF
    
    :GETSIG
    
    SET /A COUNTER+=1
    
    IF {%COUNTER%}=={1} SET LOGSIG=%1
    
    GOTO :EOF
    						
    The following is a sample result:
    T:\exchsrvr\mdbdata>chksig edb0000a.log
          Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:38 Rand:24842 Computer:
          Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:38 Rand:24842 Computer:
          Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:38 Rand:24842 Computer:
    SIGNATURE MATCHING FAILED FOR edb0000c.log!
          Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:38 Rand:24842 Computer:
          Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:38 Rand:24842 Computer:
    SIGNATURE MATCHING FAILED FOR edb0000e.log!
          Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:38 Rand:24842 Computer:
          Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:38 Rand:24842 Computer:
          Signature: Create time:12/29/2000 21:6:38 Rand:24842 Computer:
    SIGNATURE MATCHING FAILED FOR edb0000c.log!
    SIGNATURE MATCHING FAILED FOR edb0000e.log!
    							
    All log signatures must match between all log files that are replay candidates. You must remove any logs that do not match the log signature of the anchor log before replay begins.

    At this point, after you remove files that do not pass the verification tests, the only transaction log files in the transaction logs folder are ones that:
    • Are in unbroken lGeneration sequence, starting with the anchor log file.
    • Have matching log signatures.
  9. Remove the Edb.chk file from the Working Path folder.

    In the absence of a checkpoint file, Exchange Server begins to replay the logs from the lowest numbered log file available in the Transaction Logs folder. If the Edb.chk file exists, Exchange Server begins replay at the checkpoint recorded in this file. If Edb.chk points past the low anchor log, replay may start in the middle of the log stream. If you replay logs D, E and F, but skip needed logs A, B and C, you will, in almost every case, irreparably damage the database file. Your only option will be to restore the file again from backup.
  10. As a final check before you start the database, verify that:

    • All database files are present in their running paths.
    • The only log files in the running transaction logs path are ones starting with the anchor log and continuing as an unbroken series, with the highest log file named Edb.log instead of according to its actual lGeneration value.
    • There is no Edb.chk file in the Working Path folder.
    You should now be able to successfully start the database service and replay transaction logs with this file set. After recovery finishes and the database starts, it is still possible that not all data in all log files will actually be recovered because of database signature and path problems encountered during replay. The next section of this article will provide more detail about these problems.
  11. Start the database service. If you are restoring an information store database, the database will, in most cases, fail to start, and report an event 1087 or an error 1011. This is normal, and indicates only that the information store and directory databases need to be synchronized. If this happens, at a command prompt, run the following command:
    \exchsrvr\bin\isinteg.exe -patch
    This command resynchronizes the information store and the directory service. The patch process usually takes only several minutes, even against a very large mailbox database.

    NOTE: For public information store databases with large numbers of folders in the hierarchy, the patch process may take considerably longer. In general, expect patching to take at least a minute for every 1,000 folders in the hierarchy.

    After patching has completed, start the database again.

    NOTE: Do not run the isinteg -patch command in anticipation of a startup problem. Only run it after an event occurs advising you to do so. In rare circumstances, if you run the isinteg -patch command before the service has detected that it needs to be done, you may damage the database.
Check the application event log in the Windows NT Event Viewer for any errors or anomalies that may occur when the database starts. There is an event 109 displayed for each log file that is replayed. Watch carefully for errors and warnings during the recovery process.

Dealing with Database Signature and Path Mismatches

Databases, like log files, have their own signatures. But while log signatures never change from the time Edb000001.log is created, database signatures are changed whenever the physical topology of the database is altered without the changes being tracked through the log files. Offline defragmentation or repair of a database with Edbutil or Eseutil will cause the database signature to be changed. After such an event, the database can be attached to the same log stream as before, but it will not accept replay of any transactions that were performed while the database had its previous signature. A previous copy of the database will not accept replay of any transaction performed after the database has had its signature changed.

This resetting of database signatures is the reason that you are strongly advised to make immediate full database backups after offline defragmentation or repair of a database. If you later restore a copy of the database with the old signature, replay will succeed up to the point of the signature change, but you will lose all changes past that point.

If database paths are changed in the middle of a log stream, the effect is similar to changing signatures: replay will be interrupted at the point of the change. (The online backup API provides a facility for remapping paths during recovery, and therefore can replay logs completely even if there has been a path change since the backup was made.)

As database signature or database path problems are encountered during replay, they will be reported in the Application log in line with the 109 replay events for each log file. Log files past the point of the problem may appear to play successfully, but this is only because the same mismatch warning is not repeatedly logged. As a general rule, replay into a particular database will be truncated from the point where the first database signature or path error referencing that database is encountered.

Properties

Article ID: 296787 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 4.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbhowto KB296787

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